It's taken me a while to recognize not everyone feels this way. Because, in many of my circles, I have been the thrower of parties and the organizer of celebrations, I've had my share of birthday letdowns. I threw my own going-away lunch when we moved one time, because I wanted to see my friends once more and I was the one who usually coordinated that stuff. It felt embarrassing. I did it anyway.
I love the idea of celebrating mothers. But I think the day is kind of set up to fail. I'll always love the handmade cards and anything with a painted hand print on it will be treasured forever. But a brunch? With my wild animals? No thanks. Another dinner to cook? Meh. A visit to the park, or the zoo, or any other kid-friendly place? I do that stuff all the time. I don't want to pack one more friggin' picnic lunch.
These last couple days have been-- how do I put this?-- not some of my best. The kids haven't been sleeping well; one night Deacon woke up screaming at 1:30 informing me he was "Ah-nun, ny-nyte" and demanding a '''nack" and milk. I went in to calm him, and he unplugged his night light, wriggled off my lap and started running around his room. This has never happened before. Eventually I caved and got him the milk and he finally went back to sleep after 2:00.
The other morning Daniel returned from his Cross Fit workout, exhilarated, which I chose to process as him being exhilarated at me since I have still not figured out a way to work out with any regularity.
Deacon is testing his climbing skills, all over furniture of inappropriate height.
Mirabella has had a series of public, emotional meltdowns, both in our driveway (over an art project that didn't go as planned), and inching down our street (over a bike that she's nervous to ride).
Sand art has been dumped, gleefully, all over our couch, and the same perpetrator of that project also made off with the vacuum cleaner attachments, which are still MIA.
Gold glitter has been scattered with abandon over our playroom and loft and has made its way throughout the house.
I'm telling you all this to say: I know all this stuff is normal and that I just returned from a long weekend away, but somehow I still feel entitled to a break. Last year for Mother's Day, after lunch with our families, I went to the beach with a friend, no kids. And I felt a strange mix of guilt and relief. I love my children, of course, in some soft of alarming, primal way. But I'm finding myself stuck beneath the weight of these physically and emotionally demanding days.
So I put pressure on Daniel and the kids to give me this perfect day that they could really never live up to because even I don't know what I want.
Usually, when I find myself as disgruntled as I've been this week, it's an inside job, more a reflection of the condition of my heart than the circumstances of my life. This level of saltiness can almost always be leveled out by shifting my focus.
It's hard to stay down when you're lifting others up.
So this year the kids and I are making something for our mothers and Daniel's stepmother, as we typically do. But while we're at it, we will also make something for our neighbor, the woman who has welcomed our kids into her yard and home and heart as if they were her grandchildren. This Sunday I'll be singing with the band, helping to lead worship, which means there will not be the customary breakfast in bed (that the children usually eat off my tray). I'm sad about this part of it, but I'm shifting my focus, remember?
This year I will hold space for my friends whose dreams of motherhood are yet to be realized, for my friends for whom this day is hard. I'll remember my friends who have lost their children or their mothers, or who never had a mother worth celebrating. I will pray for their peace and comfort on this day.
In short, this Mother's Day I will get over myself.
I hate when people tout their acts of kindness, seemingly fishing for recognition; I wonder if that lessens the impact. First of all, I'm pretty sure it doesn't. But also, I'm telling you this not to get a pat on the back, but because maybe you tend to be a spoiled brat like me. Maybe you're not proud of it either. Maybe you want to feel differently this Mother's Day. And if you do, then here are some ideas for you.
Or maybe you're not a martyr, like I can be. Maybe you're more selfless than I am and you've never ended a birthday or a Mother's Day feeling let down. In that case, I wish you'd write about how you got there. I would share the heck out of that piece.
Happy Mother's Day. I hope you get whatever it is you're needing or, maybe better than that, may you be a blessing to someone else.